Should I seek an attorney to negotiate rear-end accident settlement? (~5k car damage & injuries)

Asked about 2 years ago - Walnut Creek, CA

I was struk from behind by the son of a driver who stopped short in front of me. The act seemed malicious but the driver was not charged with assault. His Insurance Co has accepted liability but won't negoitiate the settlement without me making separate claims for each loss (medical expense, pain, etc). My Wife and I were under chiropractic care before accident; and examined after accident showing losses in range of motion. My Wife and I suffered back/neck injuries. I have chronic upper back pain now and wake up every morning in extreme pain. I have not negotiated with insurance company; and they have only offered to repair my car (without offering loss of value or use) and wont settle the injury claim unless I ask for specific reimbursement amounts on each claim item. How do I proceed?

Attorney answers (13)

  1. Steven Mark Sweat

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    17

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . In a word, yes. You are entitled to property damages, loss of use of your vehicle (rental). Separate and apart from that you are entitled to present and future medical expenses and present and future pain and suffering from any exacerbation to the prior injury that can be attributed to the accident. Proving this is complex and requires good legal represenation sooner rather than later.

    Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for... more
  2. David J. McCormick

    Contributor Level 20

    16

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Given your potential pre-existing conditions and the extent of your current complaints I would definitely recommend that both you and your wife talk with a local personal injury attorney ASAP. Do not talk to the insurance company until you meet with an attorney.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being... more
  3. Christopher E. Russell

    Pro

    Contributor Level 5

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Please do your self a favor and retain a good Trial Attorney who belongs to CAOC or CAALA. The two main complicating issues on your claim are your pre-exisitng condition and your on-going residual problems. Please retain counsel now before you do something, say something or sign something that destroys or significantly affects the value of your claim as most people who attempt to handle their own claims usually do. Take it from an attorney who has handled over 5000 claims and who normally will not handle a claim if the indivdual has handle their own claim for a while because usually by then the claim has been severely compromised. Your claim may have great value if handled properly as you may be the classic thin egg shell plaintiff who may have per deim damages for the rest of your life. The insurance companies don't want you to get an attorney because their internal numbers tell them they will pay out 2 to 10 times more when competent legal counsel is involved. Abrahma Lincoln once said that "...a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client". Don't be that fool. The insurance company will oblige you however and laugh all the way to the bank if you insist.

    Christopher Russell
    Russell & Lazarus APC

  4. John Refaat Habashy

    Contributor Level 12

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Typical insurance companies. They're friendly when your choosing policy and paying premiums. The second you need help, they shut down! You have the right to sue and/or make administrative complaints. The insurance company is required by law to disclose the information necessary for you to file an administrative complaint for an improper denial of compensation.

    In your case, you should prepare a final "time-limit" demand (30 days should be good). Prepare a thorough letter with exhibits illustrating your injuries and related losses. I would recommend attaching the medical reports from your treatment and any other substantial exhibits such as proof of loss related to the accident (ie loss of work or rental car).

    If you are denied, you should file suit. Call me if you wish to discuss further.
    877-529-5090

  5. Jeffrey Mark Adams

    Contributor Level 20

    11

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . This is a well presented and valid area of inquiry. Cutting to the chase, contact a local and qualified personal injury trial attorney. Even though I strongly suspect you will not be able to find an attorney who will accept this case, most lawyers (as you see from Avvo) are willing to give some advise and counsel to people. If you cannot get satisfactory answers please re-post or contact me directly and I will certainly give you some do's/don't's. Good luck, Jeff

    Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and... more
  6. Jeffrey Scott Altman

    Contributor Level 9

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A good attorney should be able to help you get a fair recovery for your vehicle damage and consequential property damage allowed in your state. Additionally, that attorney should be able to advise you of what other damages you may be entitled to due to your injuries. Seek the advice of a personal injury attorney in your state. In Miami, Florida, where I practice law, it is not uncommon for an insurance company to try and get you to release your entire claim before you get legal advice - knowing full well that you are not an expert in the law that governs automobile accidents.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER - Any information provided is not legal advice. There is no attorney client relationship created in... more
  7. Matthew Rabban

    Contributor Level 5

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Even if you do not hire my firm or any other fine attorney on this message board, you should hire an attorney. Most injury attorneys, including myself will not get paid unless you do.

    www.TopAttorneyLA.com

  8. Timothy Kent Hobbs II

    Contributor Level 11

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It sounds like you have some significant pre-existing injuries which will make proving which of your problems came from this accident (vs. which you already had) more difficult. It is good that you were rear ended as that makes proving liability easier. An experienced attorney should be able to help you get a fair settlement. Typically an attorney can help to get the insurance company's attention, and we do not get paid unless you do.

    Hobbs Law Group

  9. Farid Yaghoubtil

    Contributor Level 11

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Insurance adjusters are taught to settle cases with as little money as possible (with $0 being there end goal). You are entitled to not only property loss, but past and future medical expenses, lost income, loss earning capacity (if applicable) as well as pain and suffering. An attorney will be able to help you.

  10. Howard Robert Roitman

    Contributor Level 17

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . yes, Yes, YESS!!!!!! GET A LAWYER

    The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing... more
  11. David Evan Jones

    Pro

    Contributor Level 4

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Do yourself a favor and retain a good Personal Injury Attorney. Your claim may have great value if handled properly, however, you have complicating issues such as the pre-existing medical condition. The insurance company will use that against you to significantly reduce your claim value. Your matter is too important and complicated to handle yourself. don't be penny wise and pound foolish.

  12. David Scott Blair

    Contributor Level 4

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . By all means get an attorney in your area who is experienced in personal injury. In complex cases like this, the longer you wait, the greater the chance of giving the adverse carrier something that they willlater use against you. Get counsel right away.

  13. Brian P Finnerty

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm not a CA lawyer, but here in MA there is no requirement that damages be itemized. If you're having daily pain due to the accident, you should retain an attorney to negotiate a settlement with the insurer (having helpful medical treatment records and a doctor's report blaming the accident for your injuries is ideal), while threatening a lawsuit if they don't cooperate. You probably don't want to go on the record with the insurance company regarding extent of your injuries, etc. as they will use anything against you that they can. This is why it's wise to let a lawyer do all the talking for you. In MA you would be entitled to recover medical bills, any lost wages or lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering, both physical and emotional. This would include the exacerbation of any pre-existing injuries. To maximize your recovery, I'd get a lawyer on board.

    Nothing in this email is to be construed as legal advice, or as a solicitation to create an attorney/client... more

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